People want to read about crime – mainly to be reassured it won’t happen to them. Every Council ward in England and Wales should now have a Safer Neighbourhoods Team and a Panel that gives the team direction. This is a return to the old school Dixon of Dock Green approach. I am a member of my Safer Neighbourhood Panel – it is a remarkable experience to sit down with your local sergeant, the constables and the police community support officers, discuss problems and set their priorities for the coming months. I like this post from We love Larkhall on the SNP – not least for the superb poster I have borrowed above.
As crime and fear of crime has sadly become a national obsession, which makes it a grim but necessary source of material for an ultra local website – you can keep people informed about what is going on, help the police communicate (something they aren’t naturals at) and provide links for the community to online police material. Just Google up your local police force and their site front page normally has a link to a Safer Neighbourhoods page. This will often have a phone number and a direct email that you can link to or provide in a permanent side bar or little text box on your own page. Brixton SNP has its own blog here. Otherwise the internet landscape for SNPs and SNTs is errrr, diverse – the police seem to have gone for an unplanned ‘thousand flowers’ approach (see here)
People also cover warnings about criminal activity that come around all communities by email and text (though check a little first to see if it well founded). It is possible to get some striking images – like this one sent in by my councillor or this one of a moped fire – when i see smoke in the neighbourhood i grab the mobile and start dialling 999, grab a camera and run for the scene while i go through the operator screening process. The urban area I write about has many big yellow incident boards – a photo of one accompanied by writing up the details and appeal or witnesses can help the problem and makes for a striking post.